June 25, 2018

Middle Class Debtors Often Victims of Falsehoods and Misrepresentations

Man shoutingLast week, a former client called and tried to refer me a new Chapter 13 client who was facing foreclosure.  While I appreciated the referral, I could not take the case because the potential client was calling from out of town at 5pm on the Monday before his house was schedule to be sold at a foreclosure sale on the courthouse steps.  The potential client did not have a credit counseling certificate and because he had filed before twice, the automatic stay would not go into effect even if he did file.

During our conversation, the potential client told me that he had been negotiating with his mortgage company and that until that Friday, he was led to believe that a modification and restructuring of his loan was likely.

I hear the same story from vehicle owners who have fallen behind by two or more payments but who are talking to the customer service reps at their lenders.  I remember one case involving a woman who had never had any credit problems before but was struggling to pay her car note because of a job layoff. [Read more…]

Georgia Legislature Considers Home Foreclosure Relief Bills

Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Georgia state Senate has approved two bills designed to help stuggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.  Senate Bill 519 would increase the pre-foreclosure notice to homeowners from the current 15 days to as much as 60 days.

Senate Bill 531 would require the current holder of a mortgage to register its name on the public record.  Supporters of S.B. 531 note that with mortgages being sold from lender to lender, it is often difficult to know where to send a check and with whom to discuss loan forebearance agreements.  Loan servicing companies, who manage loans for mortgage companies often do not have the authority to negotiate or enter into forebearance agreements.

The Atlanta paper quotes a mortgage industry spokesman as supporting S.B. 519, and supporting S.B. 531 with some reservations.

These two mortgage bills now head to the House of Representatives where they will be debated and possiby modified.  There is no word yet from Governor Perdue as to whether he is prepared to sign either or both bills into law.

While I applaud the state Senate for taking action that could possibly help homeowners, I want to make sure that you understand several things:

  • First, these two bills are a long way from becoming law.  The state House of Representatives may vote either or both bills down, or the bills could be significantly weakened in the House or in conference committee.
  • We don’t know if the Governor will sign these bills into law.
  • The mortgage industry spends a lot of money lobbying legislators – while an industry rep claims to be in favor of these bills, only time will tell if the mortgage industry will really go along with a law that makes foreclosure more difficult.

Still, I encourage all homeowners to contact their legislators to ask them to support these two bills.   Skyrocketing foreclosure numbers do not help mortgage companies who get stuck with unwanted property, nor do they help frantic homeowners.

Do You Want to Be Interviewed by French Television?

I received a call this morning from a colleague who tells me that she was contacted by a French television producer who is working on a news story about the real estate market in Atlanta.  They are looking to interview someone who is facing a foreclosure.  If you have any interest in being interviewed for a program that will air in France, you can contact the producer, J.B. Faby by email.

If you decide to do this, please let me know – I would like to hear about your experiences.

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